The gunman who stormed a Southern California dance studio, firing at least 42 rounds and killing 11 innocent people in a mass shooting Saturday, made bizarre allegations about his family trying to kill him, a police source confirms to Rolling Stone.
Huu Can Tran, 72, walked into a police station near his home in Hemet, California, on Jan. 7 and again on Jan. 9 to report alleged “past fraud, theft, and poisoning allegations involving his family in the Los Angeles area 10 to 20 years ago,” Hemet Police said in a statement Monday.
A source clarified that Tran specifically said he was the alleged victim in the purported poisoning — an allegation he failed to back up with any evidence.
“He came in and said his family was allegedly poisoning him and also claimed fraud and theft,” the law enforcement source says. “We would have helped him out, but he never returned with the documentation he said he would provide.”
Asked about the incident at a press conference Monday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said homicide investigators were aware of Tran’s recent claims about his family.
“Our investigators will be looking at all those factors to see if it contributed to the madness that occurred (Saturday),” Luna said.
Luna said investigators still haven’t determined a motive for the “disturbing” rampage at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park. L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn called the terrifying incident in the thriving, predominantly Chinese suburb “the worst mass shooting in L.A. County’s history.”
Authorities said the massacre could have been even deadlier if not for the bravery of Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old man who wrestled the 9mm semiautomatic MAC-10 assault weapon out of Tran’s hands when Tran walked into a second dance studio in nearby Alhambra Saturday night to ostensibly continue the bloodshed.
Luna called Tsay “the hero that disarmed” Tran and “saved countless lives.”
Investigators recovered 42 shell casings and a large-capacity magazine from the scene “where the victims were assassinated,” Luna said at the Monday press conference. They also recovered clothing seen during the shooting and a Norinco 7.62×25 handgun from inside the cargo van where Tran died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Luna said, adding that the Norinco was registered to Tran.
Tran had a “limited criminal history,” Luna said, listing a single arrest in 1990 for unlawful possession of a firearm.
A search of Tran’s residence in Hemet turned up a .308 caliber rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and “items that lead us to believe the suspect was manufacturing homemade firearm suppressors,” Luna said.
The sheriff said it was not yet clear how long Tran had been planning his rampage and what connection, if any, he had to the victims.
“We’re as curious as you are. This is disturbing. How can you even come to reason that somebody would even think about doing something like this? It’s horrendous,” Luna said.